7 Ways to fix: NordVPN not working in China

  • NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN services in the world. But users have reported that it frequently stops working in China.
  • China bans Internet circumvention tools and heavily restricts VPN services - only those approved by the government are legal.
  • Discover how to unblock NordVPN in China: connect to obfuscated servers, change VPN protocols, or enable custom DNS.
  • You can also turn off the kill switch, deactivate split tunneling, and check the quality of your Internet connection.

NordPVN is widely regarded as one of the best VPNs in the world, and for good reasons.

It has been constantly in the top of the VPN industry, thanks to innovative security solutions, fast Internet connections, quick response to user requests, and affordable prices.

A lot of Chinese Internet users depend on VPNs to bypass government bans and access blocked websites.

And yes, NordVPN should bypass the Great Firewall of China. Unfortunately, some users have reported that it doesn’t.

It’s pretty common for VPN services to fail working in countries with harsh Internet censorship policies. For instance, it’s illegal in China to use any Internet circumvention tool, such as VPNs or proxy servers.

Only government-approved VPNs are allowed. But we don’t recommend using them because their VPN traffic is monitored, collected and stored by the Chinese government due to backdoor access.

However, if you can’t download NordVPN in China from the official website, you should ask a friend outside of China to download and send the setup files. Another solution is download the app from mirror websites.

If you’re a NordVPN user who’ve living or traveling in China but can’t get it to work, we’re here to help. Here’s what you can do.

How can I make NordVPN work in China?

1. Connect to obfuscated servers

NordVPN is one of the few VPN services that support obfuscation mode. It’s an excellent solution for disguising VPN traffic as HTTPS traffic.

Obfuscation mode makes it look like you’re just a security-concerned individual that visits only HTTPS websites to take advantage of end-to-end encryption, which is unrelated to VPNs.

Here’s exactly how to connect to obfuscated servers and unblock NordVPN in China:

  1. Click the settings button in the main app windowNordVPN highlights the settings button in the main window
  2. Go to Advanced and turn on Obfuscated servers (OpenVPN)NordVPN highlights the advanced and obfuscation settings
  3. Return to the main window and click on Specialty serversNordVPN highlights the Specialty servers
  4. Click Obfuscated Servers to connect to the nearest obfuscated server, depending on your locationNordVPN highlights the obfuscated servers
  5. Alternatively, click the button to choose a specific country and serverNordVPN shows the country options of obfuscated servers

2. Try another VPN protocol

If China blocks specific ports used by NordVPN and other VPN services, you can get around this by changing ports. And the easiest way to do this is by using another VPN protocol since each protocol uses a specific type of encryption and particular port numbers.

The NordVPN team recommends using the NordLynx protocol in countries with Internet restrictions.

Here’s how to easily change VPN protocols and bypass geoblocks in China with NordVPN:

  1. Go to settings and select Auto-connectNordVPN highlights the auto-connect settings
  2. Select the preferred VPN protocolNordVPN shows the supported protocols
  3. Return to the main window and connect to a serverNordVPN is connected to a US server

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to use obfuscated servers with the NordLynx protocols. For obfuscation mode, you can use OpenVPN in either TCP or UDP mode.

3. Enable Custom DNS

By default, NordVPN uses private DNS servers to protect your DNS queries from hijackers while you’re connected to the VPN tunnel. However, if China is blocking the DNS servers of known VPN services, then NordVPN might also be on the list.

There’s a simple solution to this problem: change your DNS servers while staying connected to NordVPN. Here’s how:

  1. Head over to the Advanced settings of NordVPN and turn on Custom DNSNordVPN highlights the custom DNS settings
  2. Click Set a DNS server addressNordVPN highlights the DNS server address
  3. Replace with uses the DNS server
  4. Click Set a DNS server address again and replace with uses the DNS server address
  5. Return to the main window and connect to a VPN serverNordVPN is connected to a US server

4. Disable the Internet Kill Switch

The VPN kill switch is an emergency measure, designed to protect your online privacy. In case the VPN connection drops unexpectedly, the kill switch intervenes and cuts of all Internet access.

It ensures that your true IP address and location won’t get leaked to the public Internet in the time it takes your VPN service to reconnect.

However, kill switches sometimes fail to restore Internet settings properly after such an emergency. To prevent this from happening in NordVPN, just turn it off. Here’s how:

NordVPN highlights the kill switch settings
  1. Go to the Kill Switch settings
  2. Disable App Kill switch
  3. Also disable Internet Kill switch
  4. Return to the main window and connect to a VPN server

5. Check split tunneling

Split tunneling is a technique that allows you to divert network traffic to the VPN tunnel or to the public Internet by application. It’s a good way to manage limited network resources.

For example, you could use a VPN with a torrenting client to protect your identity in the torrent swarm during downloads or uploads, while the remaining network traffic has a direct line to the public web, outside the VPN tunnel.

Here’s how to easily do it:

NordVPN highlights split tunneling settings
  • Access the NordVPN settings
  • Go to the Split tunneling section
  • Disable the Split tunneling option

If you have previously used split tunneling mode but NordVPN doesn’t work in China all of a sudden, check this setting. Make sure your using your VPN and non-VPN applications correctly. Or you could just disable the split tunnel and automatically connect all your apps to the VPN to eliminate this issue.

6. Check your Internet connection

If the previous solutions don’t work, you should verify the quality of your Internet connection. Perhaps it’s not strong enough to handle VPN encryption. Here’s what you can try:

  • Run an Internet speed test
  • Reboot your router
  • Move your laptop closer to the router to improve the signal strength
  • Configure QoS settings on your router
  • Switch from Wi-Fi to Ethernet (wired) mode
  • Check for coax splitters
  • Get in touch with your ISP

7. Consider a different VPN software

NordVPN is a solid VPN provider, but if you can’t seem to solve the issue even after trying the recommendations above, it may not be the best choice for you.

We recommend you try another VPN provider that will cause fewer errors in your location. Users reported that Private Internet Access servers work well in China and can surpass the restrictions.

It has over 30 thousand servers so it is very likely that you will find several well-working ones. You may however need to switch them around before you find your perfect connection, but that should not take longer than a few minutes.

On top of that, PIA has military-grade encryption, so your identity and online activity are completely private.

PIA offers plenty of up-to-date features, including split tunneling, ad and malware blocking, dedicated IP address, secure kill switch, and reliable automation tools.

Private Internet Access is a subscription-based VPN. If you decide to use it, just pick a plan and download the installer to your PC.

The configuration is quick and easy, so you can get a private connection within minutes. It includes a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with the service.



To recap, if NordVPN is not working in China, you could try connecting to obfuscated servers, using another VPN protocol, or enabling custom DNS servers.

You should also disable the VPN kill switch, check split tunneling settings or turn it off, as well as check the quality of your Internet connection.

Did the solutions above work for you? Let us know in the comment section below.

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